Friday, July 31, 2020

Top 3 Tribute: John McNamara

Earlier this week, longtime Major League manager John McNamara passed away. Although he managed for almost 20 years, he'll best be remembered for leading the Boston Red Sox to the 1986 World Series. In tribute, I present 3 favorite cards from my collection:

1986 Topps

#771 John McNamara (MGR)

As I was looking at the cards I had of McNamara, one thing stood out to me. After 1986, it doesn't appear he smiles on his cards. He seems to have an annoyed, "WTF" look about him. I've read that he lost a lot of joy managing after all the backlash he got for leaving Bill Buckner in that fateful Game 6 of the World Series. I don't know if that's true, but his smile here reflects a man about to have a great year!

1987 Topps

#306 Red Sox Leaders (TC)

McNamara managed for at least a portion of 19 seasons, and in that time he managed some truly legendary players, like Tom Seaver here.

I want to take this opportunity to talk about another player he managed. Most of the articles I've read about McNamara's passing make sure to mention that part of his career legacy will always be tarnished by that decision to play Bill Buckner. There's another story not usually mentioned that should be a larger part of what he should be remembered for.

John McNamara was a minor league manager in the 60's for the team in the racially divided city of Birmingham. While there, he manage a young African American ballplayer named Reggie Jackson. McNamara's integrity never wavered. From the SABR Bio Project:

"When we'd be on a road trip and we'd stop at a diner for hamburgers or something to eat, McNamara wouldn't compromise. It was simple for him: if they wouldn't serve me they weren't going to serve anybody. He'd just take the whole team out of the restaurant, we'd get into the bus and we'd keep driving."  - Reggie Jackson

1988 Topps - Glossy All-Stars

#1 John McNamara (MGR)

By virtue of his 1986 AL Pennant, McNamara got to manage one of the greatest All-Star games the following season. Pitching ruled the day as both teams put up zeroes for an amazing 12 innings. McNamara AL squad fell in the 13th, thanks to a 2-run triple by the game's MVP, Tim Raines. McNamara managed 9 eventual Hall of Famers in that game.

R.I.P. John McNamara

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Repack Haiku #163 (Greg Blosser)

From first-round draft pick
To private detective work
Now in real estate

1993 Fleer Final Edition
#F-170 Greg Blosser (RC)

Monday, July 27, 2020

Johnny's Trading Spot BFG (July Edition)

I didn't forget this time! After missing out on Johnny's BFG for June, I made sure I was around for this month's offering. I landed the coveted 5th spot, which allowed me to see a bunch of cards before deciding what to pick/steal. A sweet lot of Hall of Famers were revealed right before my turn, and I decided to steal them!

According to the rules of the BFG, whoever picks 1st gets the final chance to keep what they picked or steal someone else's prize. In this case, those Hall of Fame cards got double-stolen, and they were no longer mine!

I had a choice now. I could take what Player #1 gave up, or pick one of the unclaimed lots. Seeing what was given up, the choice was pretty easy:

You can't go wrong with vintage! Beautiful, beat-up, vintage from the 1963 Topps set!

Favorite Card: There's just something about those old team cards, right?

Thanks once again for the cards, Johnny!

EDIT: Johnny has signups for August available now! Sign up and get some cards!

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Thoughts, Predictions, and Musings

The strangest season in MLB history starts tonight, so I'm forgoing my usual Friday post to offer up some quick ideas:

Let's get the predictions out of the way. Unlike a regular season, this is going to be more like a sprint and not a marathon. A hot or cold streak could be all it takes to get a team into a postseason. I expect a couple of surprise teams to make a push for the postseason:

AL East: Rays
AL Central: Twins
AL West: Astros
Wild Cards: Yankees, White Sox

Yep. I'm picking the Rays over the Yankees in the AL East. With only 60 games, health is going to be a big factor and the Yankees have been the poster child for the IL these past few years. Maybe Judge and Staunton can stay healthy for 60 games, but I wouldn't bet on it. I also think the 2nd wild card is going to come out of the Central due to the quality of teams played, and have a gut feeling the White Sox are going to take a leap.

NL East: Braves
NL Central: Reds
NL West: Dodgers
Wild Cards: Nationals, Diamondbacks

Braves and Dodgers are pretty safe bets, but I think the Reds are going to just get by the rest of the field in the Central. The Diamondbacks are my official surprise NL team.

2020 Topps #213 Minnesota Twins (TC)

World Series: Twins over Braves

Sorry Dodgers, even with Mookie I think that window of opportunity is closing. The Twins have enough pitching depth now to go along with an explosive offense. I think this short season is going to do wonders for them.

Obviously, since I'm making these predictions, I'm also thinking the whole season is going to be played. I do believe season will be heavily impacted by Covid-19 however. Some team is going to lose a star player for at least two weeks because of it. I think the protocols MLB has in place right now are going to allow any new cases to get isolated quickly and allow the season to limp along. Those taxi squads are going to get used a lot!

Other predictions/Thoughts:

- As for my team, the Red Sox: I think they'll be about as good as the experts predict. I think they'll tread water until the trade deadline, replenish their farm system by trading a few regulars, then have one good hot streak before falling just short of a playoff spot.

- Biggest name traded at the deadline: J.D. Martinez, which makes me sad just to type it.

- The Orioles will win less than 10 games. With my luck, at least half of those wins will be against Boston.

- Not a prediction, but an observation: History will be made tonight. Someone on the Nationals will become the first official NL Designated Hitter. (I'm guessing Eric Thames personally).  I wonder if it was by design that they'll be playing the team that ushered in the DH for the AL?

- If the Blue Jays make the playoffs, I wonder if Canada will let them play in Toronto. If it really came to it, would Canada really let a World Series game be played in Pittsburgh? (Buffalo? Somewhere in the US?)

- If anyone is curious, yes fantasy baseball is still being played. I drafted my two teams earlier this week. It's going to be interesting to see how it plays out. Here are my two teams:

Head To Head


1. (7) Mike Trout (LAA - OF)
2. (18) J.D. Martinez (Bos - OF)
3. (31) Xander Bogaerts (Bos - SS)
4. (42) Ketel Marte (Ari - 2B,SS,OF)
5. (55) Manny Machado (SD - 3B,SS)
6. (66) Kirby Yates (SD - RP)
7. (79) José Berríos (Min - SP)
8. (90) DJ LeMahieu (NYY - 1B,2B,3B)
9. (103) Jeff McNeil (NYM - 2B,3B,OF)
10. (114) Zack Wheeler (Phi - SP)
11. (127) Michael Brantley (Hou - OF)
12. (138) Eduardo Rodriguez (Bos - SP)
13. (151) Brandon Workman (Bos - RP)
14. (162) Héctor Neris (Phi - RP)
15. (175) Yuli Gurriel (Hou - 1B,3B)
16. (186) Alex Verdugo (Bos - OF)
17. (199) Christian Vázquez (Bos - C,1B)
18. (210) Carlos Martínez (StL - RP)
19. (223) Ryan Yarbrough (TB - SP,RP)
20. (234) Nathan Eovaldi (Bos - SP,RP)
21. (247) Aristides Aquino (Cin - OF)
22. (258) Zack Britton (NYY - RP)
23. (271) Mike Fiers (Oak - SP)
24. (282) Omar Narváez (Mil - C)
25. (295) Seth Lugo (NYM - RP)
26. (306) Emilio Pagán (SD - RP)
1. (4) Mookie Betts (LAD - OF)
2. (17) Alex Bregman (Hou - 3B,SS)
3. (24) Pete Alonso (NYM - 1B)
4. (37) Kris Bryant (ChC - 3B,OF)
5. (44) Ketel Marte (Ari - 2B,SS,OF)
6. (57) Luis Castillo (Cin - SP)
7. (64) Patrick Corbin (Was - SP)
8. (77) Marcus Semien (Oak - SS)
9. (84) Eddie Rosario (Min - OF)
10. (97) Max Muncy (LAD - 1B,2B,3B)
11. (104) Ramón Laureano (Oak - OF)
12. (117) Oscar Mercado (Cle - OF)
13. (124) David Dahl (Col - OF)
14. (137) Raisel Iglesias (Cin - RP)
15. (144) Brandon Workman (Bos - RP)
16. (157) Mitch Garver (Min - C)
17. (164) Zac Gallen (Ari - SP)
18. (177) Hansel Robles (LAA - RP)
19. (184) Sean Manaea (Oak - SP)
20. (197) Carlos Martínez (StL - RP)
21. (204) Ryan Yarbrough (TB - SP,RP)
22. (217) Aristides Aquino (Cin - OF)
23. (224) Ross Stripling (LAD - SP,RP)
24. (237) Kevin Newman (Pit - 2B,SS)
25. (244) Omar Narváez (Mil - C)

Not bad if I do say so myself. I'm pretty happy with both teams at the moment. With the uncertainty of Covid-19, I focused on players who could fill in at multiple positions and relievers more than starters. We'll see how that strategy works out.

2013 Topps Update #US149
Daniel Bard

- The baseball season is worth watching for no other reason than to cheer on Daniel Bard.

- Mike Trout will not win the MVP award. It's going to upset a lot of people, but I think it'll be Alex Bregman.

- I am also picking Ronald Acuna Jr for NL MVP, Nathan Eovaldi and Walker Buehler for the Cy Young awards, and Luis Roberts and MacKenzie Gore for Rookies of the Year.

- Oh, may be settling down in L.A. but your Hall of Fame cap will still have a "B" on it!

- Finally, a contest plug - Feel like making some of your own predictions? Head on over to The Bucs Stop Here. Nate is running a contest: predict the playoff teams and you can win some cards! (Oh, and give him a follow while you're at it!)

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Repack Haiku #162 (Dan Schatzeder)

Only pitcher to
Give up two of Ozzie Smith's
twenty-eight home runs

1988 Topps #218 Dan Schatzeder

Monday, July 20, 2020

Baseball Cards, Columbus, and Gruesome Roman Torture

How that for a title?

Believe it or not, there's a connection there. I'll get to the baseball cards eventually, but first I present a brief history lesson:

Vincent of Saragossa was a 3rd century Spanish deacon. Back in those days Catholics were being persecuted by the Roman Empire, and Vincent found himself in jail at the hands of a Roman governor. He was basically given a choice: renounce his faith, or suffer horrible pain and torture. He basically told the Governor to piss off, and was subjected to an array of unspeakable pain:

From Wikipedia:
His outspoken manner so angered the governor that Vincent was inflicted every sort of torture on him. He was stretched on the rack and his flesh torn with iron hooks. Then his wounds were rubbed with salt and he was burned alive upon a red-hot gridiron. Finally, he was cast into prison and laid on a floor scattered with broken pottery, where he died. During his martyrdom he preserved such peace and tranquillity that it astonished his jailer, who repented from his sins and was converted. Vincent's dead body was thrown into the sea in a sack, but was later recovered by the Christians and his veneration immediately spread throughout the Church.
Ouch! He was eventually canonized by the Catholic Church, and became Saint Vincent of Saragossa, Patron Saint of wine makers (among other things).

It was on his feast day (January 22nd) that Christopher Columbus discovered an island in the Caribbean and named it after St. Vincent. That island is now part of the sovereign state known as St. Vincent and the Grenadines.


Now for the baseball cards. Alex of Chavez Ravining recently held a contest, and gave away all sorts of great prizes. I was one of the lucky winners. My prize?

This is a 12 card set of stamps produced by the government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines in 1992. They are legal postage in that area too, which makes me wonder if anyone from there actually taped one to a box.

In addition to this set, Mark also included a bunch of Red Sox cards.

That's a lot of great cards, mostly from sets I don't spend a lot of money on.

Favorite Card: It's a tough call between the sepia Chrome Xander Bogaerts and the acetate David Ortiz. Since I gave Big Papi the nod a few weeks ago, I'll give the X-Man his due today.

Thanks for all the cards, Mark!

Friday, July 17, 2020

Black Sox Set From Padrographs

Rod from Padrographs was cleaning out some stuff again, and offered it up to his viewers. Lots of amazing stuff, but there was one item I focused on - The 1992 Manning 1919 Black Sox reprint set. I had seen this set before on other blogs, and thought it was a great-looking set aimed at one of the darkest moments in the sports history. I put my claim in and a short while later it was in my mailbox!

First of all, I have to give Rod kudos for this clever logo. I couldn't think of a better way to sum up his love for autographs and the Padres!

Here's the box - a bit of wear and tear, but still in overall good shape. Notice how it says it's a 25 card set? That's not entirely accurate...

Here's the condemned 8 players who where thrown out of baseball, signified by the black border around their cards. Personally, I'm in the camp that believes that Shoeless Joe's lifetime ban should have ended when his lifetime did. Whether or not he belongs in the Hall of Fame is another issue, but his accomplishments deserve to be debated.

Another card of Jackson, this time in color, accompanied by the team's manager and coach. I'm not up on my history, but did teams back then only have one coach? If there were others, why is William Gleason the only one appearing in the set?

Here's something Altuve and Verlander fans cans take hope from: Despite the 1919 World Series scandal, the White Sox still managed to produce 4 Hall of Famers in this set - In addition to club president Charles Cominsky, the team had Eddie Collins, Urban Faber, and Ray Schalk....

Wait a sec..where's Ray Schalk? I counted the cards, and there's 25 of them, just like the box says. According to TCDB, there's actually 26 cards in this set! Maybe the colorized Jackson was some bonus card. I don't know. All I know is that Mr. Schalk is now the latest addition on my "So Close!" page.

Thanks for the cards, Rod! This set is amazing!

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Repack Haiku #161 (Keith Miller)

Post-baseball career
Became agent for the stars
Inge, Rolen, and Wright

1991 Upper Deck #196 Keith Miller

Miller became a sports agent for the ACES firm, with Scott Rolen and David Wright being his two most notable clients.

Monday, July 13, 2020

Time Travel Trading Update #43

Decisions, decisions...

My friends, sometimes weird things happen when you're time traveling. Sometimes you get thrown for a loop, and the path in front of you has multiple options. I've reached such a crossroads, and I need your opinion on where to proceed from here. But first, allow me to provide context and show off my latest completed trade:

These beauties come from Bob at The Best Bubble. In exchange for 3 cards, I got 14 wonderful cards, full of well-known and beloved names. These are great cards, and if this was a normal trade, I'd make it all day, every day, and twice on Sundays.

But the Time Travel Trading Project isn't exactly normal, is it?

One of the cards I sent off was a 1973 Topps card. The basic premise of this project is that I trade these cards for an older card. As you can see, that didn't happen here. Now, with everything going on in the world, should this be a big deal? Absolutely not! I'm perfectly content to let this slide and pop these gems into the trade stack. My only concern is falling down a slippery slope where the Time Travel Trading Project loses any sort of purpose and just becomes another avenue for trading.

I can fix this though. I don't have a lot of vintage doubles, but I do have enough where I can essentially make a trade with myself and swap out some or all of the cards with 3 from my collection that will satisfy the older card rule for the project. I've made a trade with myself once before, so I'm fine doing this.

However, there's one last little wrinkle here (A Wrinkle In Time, if you will...): Bob obviously picked these specific cards out for a reason. Every single one of these cards is listed as a need on my "So Close!" page. It's clear that the intent was to add these cards to my collection and get me closer to completing these two sets.

Again, I have a way around this. I have plenty of 1981 Topps doubles, and enough of the 1978 Topps that I could easily swap these out for an equal number of cards. They may not have the star power as these, but they'll do the job.

So what to do? The way I see it, I have the following options:

  1. Leave all of the cards from Bob in the stack.
  2. Satisfy the older card rule by making the following trade with myself: Trade the 14 cards in exchange for 3 cards older than the 3 I initially traded out.
  3. Maintain the quantity of the incoming cards by making the following trade with myself: Trade the 14 cards I need for 14 extra cards from the same sets.
  4. Maintain the older card rule and the quantity by making the following trade with myself: Trade the 14 cards for 3 cards older than the 3 I initially traded out and 11 extra cards from the same sets (The 11 cards would probably be from the 1981 set in this case).

I should state right now that if anyone wants to trade for any of these cards, I will do so without hesitation! Keeping the Time Travel Trading Project going is a higher priority to me than completing either of these sets. Don't let this post scare you from offering a trade!

That being said, I'd like to offer up an informal poll: Which option should I choose? Let me know in the comments.

Of course, anything on this list is available for trade! See something you like, let me know - All I ask is that I receive a card older than what I'm sending you.

The Time Travel Trade Stack:

2018 Topps
#502 Xander Bogaerts

2017-1018 Pocket Schedule
Carolina Hurricanes

2017 Bowman
#12 Trea Turner

2008-09 O-Pee-Chee (hockey)
#128 Tim Thomas

1998 Score
#68 Scott Rolen
#74 Mark McLemore

1994 Sportflics
#113 Pete Harnisch

1993 Classic Draft Picks (basketball)
#33 Will Flemons
#67 Bennie Seltzer

1992 Fleer Ultra
#594 Dave Righetti

1991 Upper Deck
#778 Dave Righetti

1990-91 Hoops (basketball)
#168 Glen Rice (RC)

1990 Fleer
#629 Jose Canseco (POD)

1990 Upper Deck
#626 Frank Viola

1990 Pro Set - Theme Art (football)
#10 Super Bowl X Pittsburgh Steelers / Dallas Cowboys 

1989 Fleer
#29 Bob Welch

1989 Score
#495 Larry Parrish

1986 Topps
#5 Rose Special '75-'78
#6 Rose Special '79-'82
#401 Fernando Valenzuela (Turn Back The Clock)
#510 Wade Boggs

1985 Donruss
#305 Steve Carlton
#421 Andre Dawson
#557 Mark Langston (RC)
#616 Joe Carter 

1985 Topps
#694 Joe Carter

1983 Topps
#70 Steve Carlton

1982 Donruss
#74 Carl Yastrzemski
#76 Alan Trammell
#214 Tim Raines
#252 Lee Smith (RC)
#NNO Checklist 545-653

1982 O-Pee-Chee E.T. The Extraterrestrial (non-sport)
#15 Among Elliott's Toys

1982 Topps
#3 Tim Raines (HL)
#34 Joe Sambito
#70 Tim Raines
#74 Bob Clark
#190 J.R. Richard
#303 Bill Caudill
#399 Pat Zachry
#401 Johnny Bench (IA)
#462 Dave Chalk
#480 Steve Carlton
#651 Carl Yastrzemski (IA)
#754 Joe Morgan 

1981 Fleer
#268 Rod Carew

1981 Topps
#41 Rangers Future Stars (RC)
#231 Joe Beckwith
#234 Lou Whitaker
#259 Mets Future Stars
#341 Dwayne Murphy
#363 Geoff Zahn
#399 Orioles Future Stars (RC)
#414 John Pacella
#493 Dan Quisenberry
#495 Dusty Baker
#530 Steve Garvey
#560 Joe Morgan
#570 Ken Singleton
#600 Johnny Bench (AS)
#635 Bobby Bonds
#666 Detroit Tigers (TC)
#696 Alan Ashby

1976 Funky Sales Corp Funky Facts Baseball
#2 In A Trance
#3 Fans Vs Players
#5 Baseballeese

1976 Topps
#70 Roy Smalley/Roy Smalley Jr. (FS)
#196 1975 AL RBI Leaders (Scott/Mayberry/Lynn)

1976 Wonder Bread (football)  
#17 Bill Bergey

1975 Topps
#310 '74 Victory Leaders
#378 Derrel Thomas
#402 Bob Tolan

1974 Topps
#38 Don Kessinger
#67 Tommy Helms
#107 Alex Johnson
#141 Pat Bourque
#158 Jack Billingham
#158 Jack Billingham
#227 Mike Lum 
#349 John Vukovich
#534 Eddie Watt
#572 Enzo Hernandez
#638 Ken Sanders
#660 Larry Dierker

1974 Topps - Team Checklists
#NNO Montreal Expos

1974 Topps Traded
#458T Jim Ray
#496T Tom Murphy

1974 Wonder Bread (football)
#8 Bob Griese 

1973-74 O-Pee-Chee (hockey)
#53 Richard Lemieux

1973 Topps
#29 Tony Taylor 
#30 Tug McGraw
#68 1972 Leading Firemen (Carroll/Lyle)
#75 Vada Pinson
#79 Jim Willoughby (RC)
#80 Tony Oliva
#102 Rudy May
#116 Ralph Houk (MGR)
#145 Bobby Bonds
#215 Dusty Baker
#225 Albert Oliver
#230 Joe Morgan
#232 Ken Singleton
#240 Bobby Murcer
#258 Tommy John
#325 Boog Powell
#329 Ed Kranepool
#365 Rico Petrocelli
#368 Bill Buckner

1972-73 Topps (hockey)
#8 Stanley Cup Trophy

1972 Topps
#33 Billy Martin (MGR)
#43 Rick Wise
#163 Tug McGraw
#197 Johnny Briggs
#225 World Series Game 3 - Manny Sanguillen
#231 Casey Cox
#239 Tom Timmermann
#266 Bobby Bolin
#363 Ron Klimkowski
#373 John Mayberry
#438 Maury Wills (IA)
#451 Tony LaRussa

1972 Topps (football)
#111 Jim Tyrer
#114 Bob James (RC)

1971 Topps
#16 Ken Singleton (RC)
#63 AL 1970 RBI Leaders (Howard/Conigliaro/Powell)
#71 AL 1970 Strikeout Leaders (McDowell/Lolich/Johnson)
#90 Joe Pepitone
#95 Luis Tiant
#105 Tony Conigliaro
#146 Ralph Houk (MGR)
#195 AL Playoffs Game 1 - Powell Muscles Twins!
#208 Billy Martin (MGR)
#270 Rico Carty
#290 Tony Oliva
#295 Bobby Bonds
#310 Tommie Agee 
#328 World Series Game 2 - Bufird Goes 2-4 (WS)
#374 Clete Boyer
#374 Clete Boyer
#388 Al Oliver

1971 Topps (football)
#22 Ken Avery (RC)
#110 Floyd Little (AS)
#176 Mac Percival

1971 Topps - Games Insert (football)
#38 Matt Snell
1970 Red Rose and Blue Ribbon North American Wildlife In Danger (non-sport)
#32 Polar Bear

1970 Topps
#47 Bob Miller
#390 Willie Davis
#457 Rico Petrocelli (AS) 

1969 Topps
#66 Orioles Rookies
#80 Norm Cash
#131 Chris Cannizarro 
#139 Andy Kosco
#182 Bill Rigney (MGR)
#484 Joe Gordon (MGR) 

1969 Topps - Deckle Edge
#13 Mel Stottlemyer

1969 Topps (football)
#73 Bennie McRae
#115 Randy Johnson 
#154 Sam Baker
#175 Joe Morrison

1968 Topps
#4 1967 AL RBI Leaders (Yastrzemski/Killebrew/Robinson)
#7 1967 NL ERA Leaders (Niekro/Bunning/Short)
#44 Frank Kostro
#181 Jerry Zimmerman
#260 Jim Wynn 
#309 Ken Henderson
#348 Larry Colton/Dick Thoenen
#449 Gene Oliver
#519 Jerry Stephenson 

1967 Philadelphia (football)
#109 New York Giants (TC)

1967 Topps
#1 The Champs (F. Robinson/Bauer/B. Robinson)
#348 Tug McGraw
#366 Andy Kosco

1966 Topps
#154 Chuck Hiller

1966 Philadelphia (football)
#104 Rams vs. Browns

1965 Topps
#17 Johnny Romano
#27 Dick Bertell
#86 Les Narum
#87 Nelson Mathews
#108 Don Mincher
#111 Lee Thomas
#178 Dalton Jones
#307 Barry Latman
#352 Alex Johnson (RC)

1965 Philadelphia (football)
#193 John Paluck

1964 Philadelphia (football)
#172 Ken Gray (RC)

1964 Topps
#18 Billy O'Dell
#45 Milt Pappas
#92 Steve Ridzik
#341 Jim Roland 

1964 Topps - Coins 
#7 Frank Malzone

1963 Topps
#155 Bill Stafford

1961 Topps
#32 Ray Sadecki
#38 Bob Lillis
#96 Billy O'Dell
#98 2nd Series Checklist 89-176 (CL, VAR)
#258 Jack Sanford
#267 Norm Siebern
#399 Cliff Cook (RC) 

1960 Topps
#138 Art Mahaffey (RC, RS)
#186 Dave Sisler 
#289 Willie Jones
#414 Don Williams (RC)

1959 Topps
#298 Tex Clevenger
#424 Ken Aspromonte
#424 Ken Aspromonte 

1959 Topps (football)
#80 Joe Perry

1958 Topps Zorro (non-sport)
#83 Rude Awakening

1957 Topps
#212 Rocky Colavito (RC)
#235 Tom Poholsky
#249 Dave Pope
#371 Bob Lennon
#406 Bob Hale

1956 Topps
#21 Joe Collins
#103 Willie Miranda (white back)
#156 Johnny Antonelli

1956 Topps Flags of the World (non-sport)
#70 Jordan

1955 Bowman
#25 Minnie Minoso
#208 Ed Fitzgerald

1955 Topps
#45 Hank Sauer

1954 Bowman
#16 Jim Wilson
#73 Don Mueller

1954 Bowman Power For Peace (non-sport)
#91 USS Coral Sea (CVB43)

1952 Bowman
#57 Clyde Vollmer

1938 Church & Dwight Useful Birds Of America Tenth Series (J9-6) (non-sport)
#2 Black-throated Green Warbler

1922 Church & Dwight Useful Birds Of America Third Series (J7) (non-sport) 
#7 Prothonotary Warbler

1915 Church & Dwight Useful Birds Of America First Series (J5)  (non-sport)
#1 Quail

The Time Travel Trading Project is simple in concept. I started out with a random pack of 2018 Topps Series 1 baseball cards. My aim was to trade every card in that pack for something older. Each card I receive in turn is then made available for trade, with the goal to get the oldest card I can get.

Number of trades completed: 56
Unique trading partners: 32

Number of cards mailed out: 188
Year of oldest card mailed out: 1956

Number of cards received: 412
Year of oldest card received: 1915

Friday, July 10, 2020

First Impressions - 2020 Topps Big League

I almost missed it. I was picking up some quick supplies at the local Wally World, when I passed by the card aisle. I took a quick glance, and saw the same empty shelves I have been seeing for the past few weeks. No new product yet, I thought. As luck would have it, the register opposite that aisle was unoccupied when it came time to check out, so I ended up getting a closer look anyway. There, among the unorganized packs of Series 1 and Heritage, I saw it. One single lone pack of Topps Big League. I put it in my cart, too overjoyed that I finally had something new to rip. As always, I jotted down my initial thought as I perused each card.

#242 2019 NL Doubles Leaders (BLB)

The first card of the pack was this League Leaders card. I actually won an online contest last year by correctly guessing that Rendon would lead the league in doubles (He actually tied for the lead with Seager, with Albies coming in 1 double behind!)

It's been stated by better writers by me, but the card design is very clean and well done. It invokes designs reminiscent to a couple of older sets produced at a time I didn't collect, so I'm not going to compare. I'll just say I'm pleased with it.

#112 Buster Posey

The back is also well-designed. Plenty of information, little underused space. The trivia continues to be where Big Leagues separates itself from other sets. (Posey's is awesome, by the way. Takes him up a few notches on the respect meter!)

#201 Trevor Bauer
#252 AL SLG Leaders (BLB)
#17 Roberto Perez
#96 Hunter Dozier
#262 AL IP Leaders (BLB)
#160 Kris Bryant
#210 Ketel Marte
#119 Andrew Benintendi

My first Red Sox card is a beaut! What a great action shot, you can almost see the motion of the play!

#238 NL Runs Leaders (BLB)
#129 Dansby Swanson
#52 J.T. Realmuto
#277 Josh Donaldson (AW)

Last year's Award Winners subset was awesome, especially the Christian Yelich/J.D. Martinez cards featuring none other than the legendary Hank Aaron himself.  Although this one doesn't quite measure up, I like that they're including Comeback Player of The Year.

#108 Bo Bichette (RC)
#124 Wil Myers
#189 Carlos Correa (Orange parallel)
#SCO-BA Brian Anderson (Star Character Reproduction insert)

Maybe it's me, but I'm not a big fan of these. I think I'm just getting tired of all these art cards.

#FO-5 Aristides Aquino (Flipping Out insert)

Wow, this has a very 90's feel to it, doesn't it? I'm not sure about it. I like the concept, but in this particular card, having half the bat cropped out seems like a failure in execution.

#DW-5 D.J. LeMahieu (Defensive Wizards insert)

As a Sci-Fi/Fantasy fan, I love the otherworldly backgrounds. Any defensive themed set that doesn't include Jackie Bradley Jr isn't really trying though...

#165 Daniel Murphy (Orange parallel)
#89 Paul Goldschmidt (Orange parallel)

Orange you glad there are borders in this set? Not my favorite color, but I'll bet teams like the Orioles and Astros will look good.

#28 Shohei Ohtani
#37 Jesus Aguilar
#15 Miguel Sano
#139 Nico Hoerner (RC)
#223 Hunter Renfroe
#297 Mike Fiers (HL)

Not going to lie, I completely forgot "The Informant" pitched a no-hitter last year! It'll be interesting seeing him pitch against Houston this season.

#152 Christian Walker
#90 Xander Bogaerts

We wrap up the deck with one more Sox card, young star Xander Bogaerts! Not a bad way to end a pack!

Overall, I like this set over anything else that's been released so far. If the store ever gets properly restocked, I may even pick up a few more packs!